“College is the only option if you want a real job, a real career, if you want to make something of yourself,” said every parent in the US since forever. For anyone growing up in this country, it’s become a truism passed down from generation to generation. Sure, a generation or so ago, there were solid blue collar jobs that could lead to good life, but a “college job” was the brass ring.

And we are also made to believe that the more prestigious the school, the better job options you will have in the future. Well, I have news for you; it’s not true, or at least not as true as it once was.

My Story

I was the responsible child. I listened to my parents and society and went to a traditional four-year college (after first attending a Junior college to save money) where I graduated with a degree in Liberal & Civic Studies with a minor in Montessori. I wanted to become a teacher, motivator, someone to change the world for good.

Of course to afford college I took out student loans, leaving me $37,000 in debt even before I graduated (and, by the way, I know millions of students graduate with far more debt).

I was one of the lucky ones, or at least I thought so at the time. I found a job as an Account Relationship Manager at a small, family-owned business where I helped more than ten brokers with their clients. I wrote reports, answered phone calls and emails from clients, ran a weekly firm-wide meeting, trained new hires, and electronically archived documents.

"We are made to believe that the more prestigious the school, the better job options." Not true.

While at first I was excited for the opportunity and enjoyed learning on the job, as time went on I was becoming less and less interested in my job. What had I gotten myself into?

While I was still with the company I made friends with the IT person who taught me about the machines in the server room and how our email security worked; and it fascinated me. He inspired me to leave my job and to look for something that more suited my intellect and drive.

(Next page: The non-traditional components that worked better)

About the Author:

Kristen Loyd is a Year 1 Full Stack Software Engineering student attending Holberton School in San Francisco, CA. She enjoys the creative limitations programming can impose and looks forward to joining the growing and challenging Technology Industry.